Outer Space Consulting

Keeping social and environmental goals in the space exploration and exploitation formula 

About Outer Space Consulting

Welcome to Outer Space

Human activities in outer space are no longer science fiction, and the rates of our exploration and use of space are rapidly accelerating.  It's time to apply lessons learned here on Earth to this new environment. 

Purpose

  • To assist industries, scientists, academics, and others with interests in outer space exploration and exploitation in recognizing the critical role of extraterrestrial environmental awareness in achieving and sustaining their goals, and 
  • To provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas on how to bring social, ethical, and environmental concerns into outer space conversations.


Outer Space Consulting

Offering expertise in developing novel and practical approaches to address the social, ethical, and environmental issues that will emerge with our use of outer space.  Some potentials include:

  • Creating an environmental assessment process to reduce costs, sustain development, reassure investors, and maintain options for future use.
  • Fulfilling requirements of the Outer Space Treaty to support outer space as the “common heritage of humankind.”
  • Addressing the ethical issues associated with our relationship with extraterrestrial resources.

I hope this website will be both provocative and liberating. If you find the information, articles and other postings useful,  please let me know and alert others to this site.  

                                                                               William R. Kramer

BIO

 

  • William earned a BS in wildlife biology at the University of Maryland (1970), an MA in Political Science (environmental policy) and a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from the University of Hawaii (1986). In 2005, he became interested in astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life, returned to UH, and was awarded a doctorate in Political Science and Futures Studies in 2012. His dissertation, “Bioethical considerations and property rights issues associated with the discovery of extraterrestrial biological entities -- Implications for political policy in the context of futures studies,” provided new perspectives on the relationships of bioethics and concepts of the ownership of life to the political process of space exploration and exploitation. 
  • He served in the US Submarine Service (the ultimate space analog!); US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Primate and Large Carnivore divisions at the National Zoological Park; as a wildlife biologist with the Smithsonian Institution; and 19 years with FWS’s Endangered Species Program in Honolulu and Washington D.C.  He retired from Federal service in 1997 as Chief of Endangered Species Recovery and Consultation.  After returning to Hawaii, he taught biology and bioethics at the Punahou Academy and Hawaii Pacific University. In 2001 he was contracted by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command and U.S. Pacific Fleet where he was a senior environmental scientist for 13 years, advising on a wide range of endangered species and environmental policy issues. William is currently HDR, Inc.’s Extraterrestrial Environmental Analyst, exploring ways to encourage space ventures to consider their potential impact on the Moon and Mars.
  • He has served as Mission Commander at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah and as First Tier Mission Support for NASA’s Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation study. More recently, he has taught seminars and workshops for the International Space University in Strasbourg, France and in Lieden, the Netherlands (summer 2018). 
  • His publications include critiques on astrobiology, the culture of outer space exploration, bioethics, and the application of intellectual property rights (patents) to potential extraterrestrial life.  Current academic research includes assessing potential environmental impacts on extraterrestrial landscapes, Aldo Leopold’s land ethic as applied to space exploration, the concept of cultural and political boundaries in outer space, and the growing effect of technology on bioethics. 
  • Although he now lives in Frederick, Maryland, William remains affiliated with the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies (University of Hawaii) and is a member of the following organizations:
  • The Space Society
  • The Long Now Foundation
  • World Futures Studies Federation
  • National Association of Environmental Professionals
  • SETI

What I Offer

 

  • My perspective draws on experiences in field biology, science administration, environmental assessment, academia,  environmental policy, intellectual property law and other fields to consider issues of outer space exploration and development. 
  • My goals are to both propose practical solutions that can be implemented in the near future and to provide insight to address more theoretical issues of outer space exploration and exploitation.   
  • I am available as a speaker, advisor, and workshop facilitator.

Reinvent Everything

           My mentor and good friend, Dr. Jim Dator of the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, affirms, “Outer Space provides us the opportunity to reinvent EVERYTHING!” One of our biggest challenges as we move into this century of outer space is to not squander those opportunities. We must not repeat past mistakes just because they have become routine, convenient and expected -- just because we, as a multitude of cultures and histories, have always done things that way.    That theme provides a foundation for most of my thoughts and writing about outer space exploration and exploitation.  It's certainly applicable to the social sciences in areas such as governance design, geopolitics, international relations, and even law, intellectual property and patenting.  But it also applies to biology --  It is becoming increasingly apparent that we will be evolving physically as well as psychologically to adapt to new environments in space. As we continue to extend our reach, reinvention will, perhaps, apply to physics, as well.


            In short, be inventive! If the world was starting all over again, how might humans have made wiser choices for the centuries to come?  We are taking the first steps at starting new worlds, and we CAN reinvent everything!  Space is not only an opportunity to do that, it's necessary if we expect to be successful.  

2014- The Year We Make Contact

This 1-hour informal interview on ThinkTech Hawaii from 2014 touches on my personal and professional background and interests.   Note:  No, I did not think that contact with ET would happen in 2014 -- but it's a great tag!  ThinkTech devised that title.

Unpublished Work and Miscellaneous Musings

  The following is a list of "works in progress," ideas, critiques, and analyses for future publications. Potentials for future papers include: 

  • How are concepts of political boundaries counterproductive, and even dangerous, when applied to extraterrestrial bodies? 
  • How does technology shape our practice of bioethics? 
  • How might we apply the International Law of the Sea to extraterrestrial exploitation? 
  • How do we value the concerns of future generations in outer space exploitation? 
  • How might we give "voice" to extraterrestrial life and landscapes?
  • Why were the Viking missions ethically unsound?
  • Problems in using the Antarctic Treaty System as a presumed "ideal" model for outer space research communities. 
  • Why do we still use the language of domination and colonialism in describing our relationship with outer space? 
  • What would Aldo Leopold do? Applying Leopold’s land ethic to extraterrestrial bodies.


Postings

Links to Upcoming Events

Meetings, conferences, and similar notices of interest:

  • Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology - April 13-15, 2018, Reno, NV.
  • Humans 2 Mars Summit - May 8-10, 2018, Washington, D.C.  
  • International Space Development Conference, May 24-27, 2018, Los Angeles, CA    
  • I will be teaching sessions at the International Space University's Summer Space Program in the Netherlands in late July and August, 2018.  Topics will include the bioethics and environmental ethics of space exploration.   

Links to Others' Work

Links to other sites and other work that is pertinent to outer space issues.

And Now For Something Completely Different

  • September 1, 2017 Science pubished an article on August 11 (Fear of microbial taint curbs Mars explorers) that needed, in my opinion, "correcting."  Sent a letter off to the editor.  While not selected for publication, the text of Science article and my letter (Relaxing planetary protection) are linked in "unpublished work" section, above.




Contact

Outer Space Consulting

607 Lindbergh Court, Frederick, Maryland 21701, US

(808) 551-5916